What is AWS Direct Connect?

AWS Direct Connect (AWS DX) is a cloud service solution that simplifies setting up a dedicated network connection from the enterprise premises to AWS.

AWS Global Cloud Infrastructure is the most secure, extensive, and reliable cloud platform that offers over 200 full-features services from data centers around the world. AWS provides cloud infrastructure anywhere and anytime, allowing businesses to deploy applications and workloads anywhere with a latency of just a few milliseconds.

AWS has more than 230 Points of Presence (PoP), including more than 218 edge locations and 13 regional edge caches. Particularly in Vietnam, businesses and users can only connect to the nearest AWS PoPs located in Singapore and Hong Kong through ISPs such as Viettel, CMC or FPT. Therefore, connections from Vietnam often have higher latency, transmission speed is not as desired, especially during peak hours.

This is usually due to international bandwidth being affected by “shark bites” or fatal incidents, so to ensure stable transmission bandwidth with low latency when using AWS services, businesses often consider using Direct Connect services.

AWS Direct Connect la gi

So, what is AWS Direct Connect (AWS DX)? Why do enterprises need to use this service? Let’s find out with Viet-AWS in the following article.

What is AWS Direct Connect (AWS DX)?

According to AWS:

“AWS Direct Connect is a cloud service solution that simplifies the setup of dedicated networking from enterprise premises to AWS. Using AWS Direct Connect, businesses establish a separate connection between AWS and their data center, office, or server-setting environment. This can help increase the bandwidth through mass and provide a more stable network experience than Internet-based connections.”

Simply understood, Direct Connect provides a dedicated, stable line of transmission set up for a private connection between AWS and a data center, office, or server-based rental environment, which in many cases can help reduce network costs, increase bandwidth traffic, and provide a more consistent network usage experience than an Internet-based connection.

When using AWS DX, businesses ignore Internet service providers and connect directly to AWS to enterprise-demand connections, which can be up to 10-100Gbps.

AWS Direct Connect enables the establishment of a dedicated network connection between the enterprise network and one of the AWS Direct Connect locations (AWS currently has 108 Direct Connect Locations).

Using VLAN 802.1q according to IEEE standards, this connection can be partitioned into multiple virtual interfaces. This allows businesses to use the same connection to access public resources, such as objects stored on Amazon S3 that use public IP address and private resources such as Amazon EC2 business sessions running on Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) that use private IP spaces, while maintaining network separation between public and private environments.

Virtual interfaces can be configured at any time to meet the constantly changing needs of the business.

Benefits of using Direct Connect

Demand for the cloud is growing significantly, particularly in the need for conversions and cloud applications, according to Forrester.

Read more: Forrester predicts 2021: Cloud computing accelerates business transformation after the COVID pandemic – Viet-AWS (awsviet.vn)

However, to truly experience a complete cloud environment, businesses that are often consulted should use Direct Connect. So what are the benefits of this service?

The benefits that Direct Connect offers are:

1. Reduce bandwidth costs

If businesses with large bandwidth workloads want to run on AWS,  AWS Direct Connect reduces network costs in and out of AWS for business in two ways.

  • Firstly, by transmitting data directly to and from AWS, businesses can reduce bandwidth commitment fees with Internet service providers.
  • Second, all data transmitted over a dedicated enterprise connection is charged according to AWS Direct Connect data transfer speeds – which have been reduced instead of Internet data transfer speeds.

2. Consistent network performance

Internet latency may vary as the Internet constantly changes the way data is transferred from point A to B. With AWS Direct Connect, businesses can choose data using a dedicated connection and how data is routed, which offers a more consistent network experience than an Internet-based connection.

3. Compatible with all Amazon Web Services services (AWS)

AWS Direct Connect is a network service that works with all AWS services accessible over the Internet, such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC).

businesses can use AWS Direct Connect to set up their own virtual interfaces from on-premises networks to Amazon VPC, creating private, high-bandwidth network connections between your network and your VPC. With many virtual interfaces, businesses can even establish separate connections to many VPCs while maintaining network isolation.

4. Flexible and Simple

AWS Direct Connect makes it easy to scale connections to meet customer needs. AWS Direct Connect provides 1Gbps and 10Gbps connectivity, and businesses can easily provision multiple connections if they need more space. businesses can also use AWS Direct Connect instead of establishing a VPN connection over the Internet to Amazon VPC, which limits the use of VPN hardware – which typically cannot support data transfer speeds higher than 4 Gbps.

businesses can sign up for AWS Direct Connect services quickly and easily through the AWS Management Console. The control panel provides a single form of display to effectively manage all connections and virtual interfaces. businesses can also download customized router templates for their network devices after configuring one or more virtual interfaces.

Where businesses should use AWS Direct Connect (AWS DX)

AWS DX use cases

1. Businesses with large data transfer needs go in and out of AWS

Transferring large data sets over the Internet can be time-consuming and costly.

Most businesses have purchased enough bandwidth to meet their web and email needs, and share that Internet connection across the entire business.

When using the cloud, the transmission of large data sets can be slow because the critical network traffic of the enterprise is scrambling for bandwidth with other Internet needs.

To reduce the amount of time it takes to transfer data, businesses can increase bandwidth for Internet service providers, however, this provider often requires costly contract renewals and minimal commitments.

With AWS Direct Connect, businesses can transfer important data of their business directly from their data centers, offices, or location environments into and from AWS, ignore Internet service providers, and eliminate network congestion.

Furthermore, AWS Direct Connect’s simple payment pricing and no minimum commitment mean that businesses pay only for enterprise network gateways and enterprise data transmitted over connectivity, which can significantly reduce enterprise network costs

2. Enterprises require high speed, low latency with real-time data

Real-time applications can also benefit from using AWS Direct Connect.

For example, apps that use voice and video work best when network latency is slow. Internet latency may vary because the Internet constantly changes the way data goes from point A to point B.

With AWS Direct Connect, businesses control how data is routed, which can provide a more consistent network experience over Internet-based connections

3. Businesses want to deploy under the Hybrid Cloud model

Direct Connect provides a secure, reliable line from enterprise systems to AWS resources and services by leveraging the provider’s network.

AWS Direct Connect helps build integrated environments that meet the regulatory requirements for using a private connection. The combined environment combines AWS’s elasticity and economic benefits with the ability to use other infrastructure your business already owns.

Designing enterprise systems using AWS Direct Connect (AWS DX)

For example, if an enterprise has an EC2 instance in a Private Subnet (part of the Amazon VPC service), and the business wants to connect to it without using the Internet, Direct Connect will be the necessary solution.

First, locate AWS Direct Connect, where DX services are supported by AWS, the list can be viewed below: https://aws.amazon.com/directconnect/features/#AWS_Direct_Connect_Locations

aws dx

Note: Businesses can access any AWS Region from any AWS Direct Connect location listed above (except China)

“In addition to the enterprise router located in Data Center/office, the business will need the router located at Direct Connect Location that the business chooses.

In this AWS-supported Location DX, AWS has a device called Direct Connect Endpoint. From there the enterprise will establish a connection between the Router and this device using 802.1q VLANs.

Then create a VPN at your VPC, connect a private virtual interface on VPC to Direct Connect Endpoint. So the connection between your business service and AWS has been formed.”

When using Direct Connect, businesses can also access other AWS services such as S3 without using the Internet. To be able to do this, businesses create a Public Virtual Interface and use the diagram as above to be able to connect to S3 without going through the Internet

aws dx diagram

Learn more about the interfaces in this solution:

  • Private virtual interface: Access Amazon VPC with a private IP address.
  • Public virtual interface: Access AWS services from enterprise services. Allow AWS services or AWS customers to access enterprise public networks via Interface instead of Internet access.
  • Transit virtual interface: Access one or more Amazon VPC Transit Gateways associated with Direct Connect gateways. businesses can use transit virtual interface with AWS Direct Connect 1/2/5/10 Gbps connection.

Read more: Direct Connect gateways – AWS Direct Connect (amazon.com)

If Enterprise Services are not located in AWS Direct Connect Locations, businesses can contact Partners in the AWS Partner Network for help.